Vom Kriege. Hinterlassenes Werk. [On War].

"War is the continuation of politics by other means": Scarce First Edition of arguably the most important treatise on political-military analysis and strategy ever written; Carl von Clausewitz's On War

Vom Kriege. Hinterlassenes Werk. [On War].

VON CLAUSEWITZ, Carl Philipp Gottfried.


Item Number: 123578

Berlin: Ferdinand Dümmler, 1832-34.

Scarce first edition of arguably the most important treatise on political-military analysis and strategy ever written. Octavo, three volumes bound in contemporary half cloth over marbled boards with gilt titles and ruling to the spine. In near fine condition with light rubbing to the extremities.

Utilizing the campaigns of Frederick the Great and Napoleon as frames of reference for his work, Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz's principle work, On War, offers a careful, systematic, philosophical examination of war in all its aspects. Primarily written between 1816 and 1830, following the Napoleonic wars, the work was published posthumously by Clausewitz' wife Marie von Brühl in 1832 1832-34, as the first three volumes of Clausewitz' Collected Works. Clausewitz constantly sought to revise the text, particularly between 1827 and his departure on his last field assignments, to include more material on "people's war" and forms of war other than high-intensity warfare between states, but relatively little of this material was included in the book.[10] Soldiers before this time had written treatises on various military subjects, but none had undertaken a great philosophical examination of war on the scale of those written by Clausewitz and Leo Tolstoy, both of whom were inspired by the events of the Napoleonic Era. Clausewitz introduced systematic philosophical contemplation into Western military thinking, with powerful implications not only for historical and analytical writing but also for practical policy, military instruction, and operational planning. He relied on his own experiences, contemporary writings about Napoleon, and on deep historical research. Clausewitz conceived of war as a political, social, and military phenomenon which might——depending on circumstances——involve the entire population of a political entity at war. Key concepts discussed in the work include: the dialectical approach to military analysis, he nature of the balance-of-power mechanism, the nature of "military genius", the "military virtues" of professional armies, strategic and operational "centers of gravity", and the "culminating point of victory". "These thousand pages occupy a unique position among military writings of any age and nation. The book is less a manual of strategy and tactics, although it incorporates the lessons learned from the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, than a general inquiry into the interdependence of politics and warfare and the principles governing either or both" (PMM 297). On War arguably constitutes the most important treatise on political-military analysis and strategy ever written and its influence upon systematic strategic thinking remains unsurpassed - as well as controversial.

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